Bay of Islands

Trip Start Jan 10, 2005
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Trip End May 10, 2005


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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Martin and I borrowed my sister's car and hit the road north of Auckland, heading for the Bay of Islands on the east coast. Martin is very happy to have a car with more "guts" than the rental as it makes passing on these twisty, turny roads a lot easier!

The countryside was drier than I remembered, but I know there's been a lack of rain. The roadside fire signs warned that the risk of fire is "extreme".

Paihia is a touristy little place set amonst a paradise of tranquil beaches and quiet bays, dotted with small islands. It is now school vacation for two weeks, so the streets of the town, as well as the beaches were busy with families on holiday.

At the YHA, we once again met up with the two Scottish nurses we met in Oamaru and they were disappointed to learn that Steve was no longer with us. (He's such a cup-up, that Steve is.) We also met two older women from Melbourne who had just arrived in NZ for a three-week vacation, as well as a couple from Regina, recently retired, who were planning on building a home at Kenosee Lake - my old stomping grounds! And then I found out she grew up at Fairlight which is about 8 miles from Wawota! It's true - it is a small world. They have been on the road since October, touring both Australia and New Zealand by bus, staying in hostels.

Very closely situated to Paihia is Waitangi where the treaty of Waitangi was signed by the Maori and Britain in 1840. The treaty is an agreement between two peoples to live and work together in one nation. The site overlooks the sea which creates a very dramatic backdrop to a very significant location in New Zealand's history. Tall, stately Norfolk Island pines (not our spindly Canadian indoor version!) add to the majesty.
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